Dannenbaum Law Firm, PLLC

Millennial couples struggling with student loan debt

Some millennials in Virginia might be struggling with student loan debt, and it could be affecting their marriages. According to a survey by the website Student Loan Hero, over 33 percent of people with student loan debt cited debt and financial issues as a factor in the divorce while 13 percent specifically blamed student loans.

The college class of 2017 owes more than $39,000 in student loans while student loan debtors on average have a balance of more than $34,000. In a different survey of student loan debtors, more than 40 percent of respondents reported fighting about money with a partner, and almost a quarter said they did not tell their partner about the debt. Nearly 1 in 5 said lying to a partner about finances was not wrong.

Only about half of millennials are expected to earn as much as their parents did, and that number is expected to continue dropping. More than 40 percent of millennials report being unable to purchase a home because of debt. Others say they cannot go on vacation. Unfortunately, the cost of divorce can add to the debt. Furthermore, people who get a divorce and who also have student loans end up paying more for the divorce on average than those who do not.

However, a divorce does not always have to be expensive. Some couples are able to keep costs down by negotiating a divorce agreement, often with the assistance of their attorneys. An alternative dispute resolution method, such as mediation, can help couples work through conflicts and reach solutions for both property division and child custody that satisfy both of them. They may also have access to more flexible and creative arrangements than would be possible in litigation. These dispute resolution methods are generally nonbinding, so if negotiations break down, people can still turn to litigation if necessary.

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